Two Virginia police officers, including one who is an Army veteran and trained sniper, have been arrested after they allegedly took part in the Capitol riot—then boasted about it being legal on Facebook afterwards.
Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, both officers with the Rocky Mount Police Department, were charged on Wednesday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast.
Prosecutors allege the two cops, who were off-duty when they traveled to D.C., were photographed inside the Capitol “making an obscene statement in front of a statue of John Stark.” The photo was then posted on social media—where Robertson defended their actions and said he was “fucking proud” because he was “willing to put skin in the game,” according to a criminal complaint.
“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business … The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us,” Roberson wrote.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Fracker also commented on people seemingly concerned about the photo.
“Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around… Sorry I hate freedom? Sorry I fought hard for it and lost friends for it? Not like I did anything illegal, WAY too much to lose to go there but, ya’ll do what you feel you need to lol,” he wrote. “I can protest for what I believe in and still support your protest fro [sic] what you believe in. Just saying..after all, I fought for the right to do it…”
Local news reports identify Robertson as an Army veteran who received Ranger and sniper training, and served five years, including 15 months in Iraq. He then worked as a private contractor with the Department of Defense in Afghanistan to recruit and train local troops. It was in that capacity that the Franklin News Post reported he suffered shrapnel injuries after a shell exploded some 30 feet from where he was embedded with an Army platoon and Afghan security forces.
A 2011 article on the SWVAToday.com local news website asserted that, prior to working as a police officer in Rocky Mount, Robertson worked on the force in nearby Roanoke.
Public records show Fracker joined the Rocky Mount police in 2018. The Daily Beast could discover only one individual of that name residing anywhere in the United States, and that was in Rocky Mount, Virginia. A Jacob Fracker served as a specialist in the Virginia National Guard, according to a video his infantry battalion posted to Facebook, which shows him participating in desert training exercises. The Daily Beast has not confirmed they are the same person and the Virginia National Guard did not immediately return either a call or email for comment.
The complaint says that Robertson also admitted to Newsweek that he and Fracker “sent the photo to their police department colleague, and after it was leaked to social media he reposted it on his own Facebook page.” In an interview with ABC13, Robertson said the photo was taken as a joke for friends who were checking in on them.
Robertson also insisted to several media outlets that the pair did nothing wrong and didn’t know about the violence, the complaint says. Robertson also claimed they had been escorted into the building by Capitol Police, given water, and asked to stay within roped areas.
“Robertson made these claims notwithstanding his previous posts that he had ‘attacked the government’ and ‘took the f**** Capitol,’ the complaint states. “Moreover, at that date and time, the United States Capitol was on lockdown and the defendants’ presence inside was without lawful authority.”
In a statement to The Daily Beast, the town of Rocky Mount confirmed the two officers were charged by federal authorities in connection with the riot but remain on “administrative leave” amid an investigation.
Five deaths have been linked to Wednesday’s violent riots. Four were pro-Trump protesters, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer after attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was killed after allegedly being struck with a fire extinguisher by rioters.
On Monday, Capitol Police said that “several” officers have been suspended for their behavior during the riot. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) told reporters that two officers had been suspended, one for taking a selfie with a rioter. The other, he said, put on a MAGA hat and “started directing some people around.”
“The Department also has been actively reviewing video and other open-source materials of some USCP officers and officials that appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies,” Capitol Police said in a statement. “Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including termination. Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations.”
Ryan also said at least ten more officers were under investigation but did not provide further details. The Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, which is overseeing the subcommittee handling the investigation into the Capitol Police’s response, said Monday there was no evidence that the riots were part of a broader “inside job” or that officers purposefully cooperated with or organized with rioters.
Many local leaders are also punishing cops who attended the Jan. 6 event. An Anne Arundel County cop was suspended with pay on Monday pending a probe over his involvement. His name hasn’t been released but the P.D. is looking into whether he committed any crimes or agency violations.
A Los Angeles cop has been ordered by the LAPD to talk to the FBI about his attendance at the rally, although he claims he left before it turned violent, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also threatened to fire any NYPD or U.S. Attorney’s Office employees that were at the Capitol.
“Any New York City employee, any part of the city government who participated in an attack on our democratic institutions, who participated in an insurrection at the Capitol, will be terminated—period,” de Blasio said Monday. The NYPD said Tuesday it is working with the FBI after suggestions that some cops may have been at the Capitol.
The Philadelphia Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit is also investigating a detective, Jennifer Gugger, to determine if she had any role in the riot. She has been reassigned from her role of vetting potential recruits after she posted since-deleted photos on Facebook from near the Washington Monument with the caption “#StopTheSteal Drinking beers with fellow patriots!”
A Kentucky State Police trooper was also reassigned on Monday pending a probe into his presence in D.C. with this family. The trooper told his superiors he left before the mob burst into the building.